Turkish court upheld prison sentences for 5 journalists

The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) strongly condemn the confirmation of prison sentences for five journalists by the Third Penal Chamber of the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice in Turkey. In the lawsuit filed against five journalists for participating in the Editors-in-Chief on Watch campaign that was launched in solidarity with Özgür Gündem, a Kurdish daily newspaper, which was subsequently banned per the Statutory Decree no. 675, the İstanbul 13th Heavy Penal Court gave its verdict for Ayşe Düzkan, Ragıp Duran, columnists of the newspaper Mehmet Ali Çelebi and Hüseyin Bektaş and its former Co-Editor-in-Chief Hüseyin Aykol on January…

Council of Europe debates “quality journalism” and safety of journalists

Meeting in Strasbourg on 27-30 November, the Council of Europe Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI) went through the details of a draft “Declaration on the financial sustainability of quality journalism in the digital age”. The text proposes for example to create “redistribution mechanisms between online platforms and media companies” and to “support measures to counter the progressive deterioration of the working conditions of journalists”. Most of the discussion was dedicated to the preamble of the draft Declaration: whereas most delegations agreed that “quality journalism extends the range of diverse, credible, interesting and timely information available to the…

Finnish trade union coalition demands more bargaining power for self-employed workers

On 20th November,  a trade union coalition called Itset, representing self-employed workers, has published a list of goals to improve the situation of self-employed workers ahead of the Finish parliamentary elections in April 2019. Many unions, NGOs and other interest groups are now drafting and publishing their manifestos. Itset, who represents all three Finish trade union confederations including the Union of Journalists in Finland (UJF) , recognizes lack of fair compensation and contracts for freelancers, as well as the fact that the current legal definition of employment is too narrow. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its affiliate, the UJF, in…

Italy: increasing attacks against status of journalists

On 27 November, Italian MEP Isabella De Monte (S&D) organised the event “The challenges of European Journalism”, taking as an example the recent problems of Italian journalism, such as politicians’ attempts to undermine public media credibility and the difficult economic situation of Italian journalists and media, to discuss about the more widespread attacks to free press throughout Europe. An issue that has to be addressed right now before the European elections with disinformation on the rise said De Monte. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) was represented by its director Renate Schroeder, participating together with Raffaele Lorusso, general secretary of the affiliate Federazione Nazionale della Stampa…

Hungary: new pro-government media conglomerate threatens pluralism

The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) join their affiliates in Hungary, HPU and MUOSZ, in calling on Hungarian authorities to obstruct the formation of a huge media conglomerate that questions media pluralism. The owners of a majority of Hungary’s pro-government media outlets said Wednesday they are donating their companies to a foundation, the “Central European Press and Media Foundation”. This new right-wing media conglomerate will include cable news channels, online news portals, tabloid and sports newspapers and all of Hungary’s county newspapers, several radio stations and numerous magazines. Among the media companies to be under its control are Echo Penisola Ltd.…

Risks for media pluralism and safety of journalists are increasing across Europe

The Media Pluralism Monitor (MPM) has examined 28 European Union Member States as well as three candidate countries: Turkey, Serbia and Macedonia. The results of this second EU-wide implementation of the MPM show either general stagnation or deterioration in all of the major areas encompassed by the MPM and confirm that no country analysed is free from risks to media pluralism. The Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF), based in Florence, has just published its 2017 Media Pluralism Monitor reports (#MPM2017). Year 2017 was marked by events that have had a significant impact on media freedom and media…

Sweden: Freelance fees recommendation will be increased in 2019

On November 12, the Swedish Union of Journalists (SJ) announced an increase of the recommended fees for freelances by 1.8 percent starting January 2019. The increase will concern also fixed freelance fees. This is to adjust the increased salaries by 1.8 percent accomplished through the recent collective agreement. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) supports its Swedish affiliate in this decision, recognizing that recommendations play a crucial role for many freelancers. Since the 1970s, the SUJ has issued recommended freelance rates per hour, equivalent to the average monthly wage of an employed journalist. This “freelance recommendation” consists partly in a recommended…

Nine international organisations urge EU officials to raise Turkey’s freedom of expression crisis during EU-Turkey high political dialogue

To the attention of:  EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Ms Federica Mogherini,  EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Mr Johannes Hahn,  We, the undersigned organisations, urge the addressed European Union (EU) officials to discuss Turkey’s freedom of expression crisis and fractured rule of law during their high level political dialogue with the Turkish government on 22 November 2018.  More than 160 journalists are imprisoned in Turkey today, with hundreds more on trial for exercising their right to freedom of expression. In 2018, the World Press Freedom Index…

JURI Committee strengthens EU-wide protection for whistleblowers

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes the vote of the EU Legal Affairs Committee for an EU-wide protection and support for whistleblowers. Today, Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee MEPs approved draft legislation to guarantee that whistleblowers in the EU can report breaches of EU law in the area of tax evasion, corruption, environmental protection and public health and safety, without fear of retaliation or intimidation. MEPs agreed that the same protection measures must also apply to those assisting the reporting person, including journalists. The text was adopted by 22 votes to none against, with 1 abstention. Proposals to set up safe mechanisms…

Open letter to European Institutions: public reporting must be a safe option for whistleblowers

On behalf of the EBU (European Broadcasting Union), EFJ (the European Federation of Journalists), EMMA (European Magazine Media Association), ENPA (the European Newspaper Association) and NME (News Media Europe), we would like to strongly encourage the Members of the European Parliament and the Council representatives to ensure that the proposed directive on the protection of whistleblowers, which is currently being negotiated in both institutions, guarantees a robust protection for persons choosing to turn to the media to report unlawful or wrongful acts. The draft directive, as proposed by the European Commission in April 2018, falls short when it comes to…

IFJ and EFJ demand answer after Israeli attack on leaders

IFJ and EFJ leaders came under a tear gas attack today after Israeli soldiers fired on a peaceful assembly demanding the right to freedom of movement for Palestinian journalists, in Ramallah. The European Federation of Journalists joins IFJ in demanding answer after Israeli attack. One member of the IFJ’s Executive Committee was injured after being hit on the shoulder and many others were left choking after the attack. In an open letter to the Israeli Prime Minister, the IFJ – whose Executive Committee is meeting in Ramallah – has demanded an urgent response to the unprovoked attack on the peaceful…